Bible and cross

It is unavoidable. We will all face it. We will not be able to protect ourselves from it forever. Of course, I am talking about death.

The hardest part of it is that we have no way of knowing when that death will occur. It could come after a long life or shortly after we are born. It can be caused by illness or disease, or some fatal accident that we never saw coming. It doesn’t really matter how or when it happens, because it will happen, and so we need to be ready.

So how do we do that? How do we get ready for our death and what comes after? This is the hard part for us, because we human beings like to be in control and do the work to prepare and get through whatever we are facing. But this work is actually done by God for us.

God the Holy Spirit comes to us in Holy Baptism and creates faith in our hearts as He makes us children of God. He applies Jesus’ death and resurrection to us and makes us ready for heaven. God continues that work as He feeds us with His word to strengthen that faith throughout our lives. He comes to us and feeds us with Jesus’ very body and blood, given and shed for you to eat and drink in Holy Communion.

As we are in His house He takes care of us and prepares us to face Him when we are called away from this life. This preparation is a lifelong work that God does for us, because we are sinners who are prone to wandering away from our Savior. We fall away from that faith that saves us, because the devil, the world and our own sinful flesh seek to pull us away from God all the time. This is why Martin Luther tells us to daily live in our baptism; to go back to it every day, and in those waters drown the sinful man again and again trusting in the work of God there to create and sustain us in the one true faith.

We can do nothing else but trust in the work of God for us. He is faithful and will bring us home to be with Him in heaven. That is how we face the inevitability of death. Only in Jesus Christ are we well and truly prepared to face whatever comes. Anything else only leads us away from Jesus and our salvation.

The Rev. David Markworth is pastor at St. John’s Lutheran Church in rural Hutchinson.